Recently, A Tribe Called Quest have suggested their last two shows in LA and New York would be their last in those places forever. They’ve also made claims to say that their set at Bestival could be their last ever show. Obviously that’s a sad thought, however when is the right time for an artist to hang up their boots? For ATCQ, they’re fresh off releasing an unexpectedly excellent release in ‘We Got It From Here, Thank You For Your Service’ after a gap of 18 years without any new albums, so perhaps now is a good time to call it quits? They certainly don’t have anything more to prove to people.
This got me thinking, which other bands chose the right time to call time on their career? And are there any who probably should pack it in?
One band that people regularly hope are going to reform are The Smiths, which on pretty much every level I would love, however when looking at them objectively, they never got stale. All of their albums are great and they are romanticised by everybody because they are no longer together, so would it actually affect them negatively if they were to reform? Probably not, but in terms of what they represent whilst they’re not together, I think it’s in some ways a more beautiful idea.
There is always the question of when a band gets “too old”, but what does that really mean, having seen The Rolling Stones live, I’m happy to say they’ve still got it, however having also seen The Who, I would have to say that they are probably past their best, although still capable of putting on a great show. However The Who aren’t my pick, but another titanic rock and roll band, AC/DC. They’ve gone through some seriously tough moments throughout their career, probably none more so than losing original lead vocalist Bon Scott, however they still managed on making it through and producing rock classics in the meantime. Things have gotten fairly unsalvageable for the band recently though, with Angus Young the only ever-present. In the past couple of years Brian Johnson has been forced to step down due to issues with his hearing to be replaced live with Axl Rose (somebody else who should maybe consider calling time), Malcolm Young has unfortunately had to leave to receive treatment for dementia, Phil Rudd went mental, was found with drugs and charged with attempting to procure murder and then perhaps the most damning of all was bassist Cliff Williams’ decision to step down from the band, calling it a “Changed animal”.
AC/DC are one of the greatest bands of all time without question, but by continuing to soldier on under that name, whatever iteration of the band still exists is tarnishing that legacy, if they called it a day after their 2008 album ‘Black Ice’, which had more than a couple great songs on it, followed by their fantastic live show ‘Live at River Plate’, or even going out on a high after putting together the soundtrack-compilation album for ‘Iron Man 2’, I think it’d be fair to say they would be pretty untouchable, but to see them fall to what they currently are is quite sad. I get absolutely no pleasure in criticising them, they should be immune from criticism, however I would be pretty happy if they said their goodbyes now and could be remembered for the great band they are, rather than go on and potentially bastardise their final years as a band.
Who else should call time on their careers then? And try to let your picks come from a place of love, rather than something negative, like saying “Lil Yachty should quit music because he’s crap” for example, that’s not what this is all about.
And on the flip-side, who did it right? Drawing the curtains on their career at just the right time. As always let us know either in the comments below, or on our twitter page and if you have any other topics you’d like us to discuss or if you fancy writing an article of your own, we always welcome new authors to the site.